SpaceX's 'Starlink' satellite-based internet service will be fast enough for competitive...

Polycount

Posts: 3,005   +589
Staff member
In context: SpaceX has its hands in a lot of cookie jars at the moment. The company builds and launches rockets, it creates functioning flamethrowers, and more recently, it's begun to launch a satellite-based internet service known as "Starlink." Starlink still has a ways to go before it becomes commercially available, but SpaceX CEO Elon Musk shared some additional details about the service during a conference yesterday.

For starters, Musk made a pretty ambitious claim about Starlink's real-world performance -- he said that, in rural areas, the latency should be below 20 milliseconds. According to the CEO, that would be enough for "fast-response" gaming at a competitive level, which isn't too far off from the truth, though many pro gamers would argue that sub-10ms latency is ideal).

However, for underserved rural gamers, 20ms is likely to be more than adequate for their needs. As far as bandwidth goes, Musk was less willing to go into details, but he did say that you'll be able to "watch high-def movies," play games and do "all the things" you want to do without noticing speed. In other words, it should be good enough for the average user, especially if that person hasn't been exposed to high-speed internet yet.

Musk went on to note that Starlink won't be ideal for everyone. If you already have, say, a gigabit connection from AT&T, Google, or a local provider, Starlink certainly won't be able to compete. Indeed, competition isn't even Musk's goal -- he says Starlink is intended to serve citizens that aren't being reached anyway, so the service won't be a "huge threat" to other ISPs.

As a matter of fact, Musk feels Starlink will benefit other telecommunications firms, because it will serve the "3 or 4 percent hardest-to-reach" customers, as well as those who "simply have no connectivity" right now. By appealing to those customers, Musk feels a "significant load" will be taken off of other ISPs.

Whether or not those companies will agree with Musk's assessment remains to be seen. Nonetheless, for the sake of those without access to reliable internet, we hope Starlink's gambit pays off.

Permalink to story.

 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,272   +7,209
Competitive gaming over satellite?

I don’t believe that for even one second.

“Typically, during perfect conditions, the physics involved in satellite communications account for approximately 550 milliseconds of latency round-trip time. The longer latency is the primary difference between a standard terrestrial-based network and a geostationary satellite-based network.”
 
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brucek

Posts: 1,107   +1,643
Even if they're right about 20 ms to the satellite and back, there's still the issue of getting to the game server and back. Unless they're installing game servers on your "local" satellite, the satellite you talk to then has to talk to a base station, possibly via other satellites first, and that base station has to route you to the server, and then all that has to happen in reverse.

I'd like to see this be right since I'm in Hawaii and I rarely see a two digit latency in any game, but I won't be holding my breath.
 

CharmsD

Posts: 411   +257
Musk feels Starlink will benefit other...firms...it will serve the "3 or 4 percent hardest-to-reach" - Musk feels a "significant load" will be taken off of other ISPs.

I applaud Elon for shaking up car builders - but pumping internet to Upper Kenduckistanola is going to bankrupt him.
 

Karlos95

Posts: 246   +165
Low Earth Orbit is around 2,000km. The speed of radio waves is roughly the speed of light at 3*10^8 m/s. That's 6.6ms one way for propagation, so 13.2ms round trip. 20ms seems pretty doable if you can keep the rest of the infrastructure to low latency.
Someone who understands the tech better. Finally. Seems like everyone just says "no, can't be done" like they are well known engineers that have an opinion on the matter lol.
 

Karlos95

Posts: 246   +165
I applaud Elon for shaking up car builders - but pumping internet to Upper Kenduckistanola is going to bankrupt him.

He'll have a good lot of gamers and streamers from Australia sign up. Our gov screwed our Fibre so we will have no choice (Unless they are the lucky few who got fibre to the premises)
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 682   +1,081
I'll believe it when I see it ..... and somehow they just never get around to talking about the cost ...... go figure
The following video has pretty good information estimating that by putting together different pieces of public comments, and basically estimates the current cost of building and launching a satellite is $333k. It also estimates 1000 customers can be serviced per satellite currently. Once it’s in space, there’s no maintenance needed, but current versions of the satellite have an effective service life of 5 years. Put all this together and you have a minimum breakeven cost of $5.50/mo at current levels.
Of course this doesn’t factor in that Starlink isn’t going to get millions of customers overnight, government fees, interconnection fees, prior/ongoing development costs, and administrative costs like sales, customer service and advertisement. These all change drastically depending on how a business is run. But there are also cost improvements to launches, satellite bandwidth, and satellite lifespan that would allow for a way higher number of satellites to be launched for excellent service to make this concept possible at an affordable price.
 
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jackal2687

Posts: 107   +30
It's always funny to me how people in the comments talk about how he, "Elon Musk", is making a mistake because he forgot about this one or twelve steps that EVERY SINGLE ORGANIZATION KNOWS ABOUT.

I think he put some thought into it, just saying. He is surrounded by some of the best and brightest people in all sectors. He is a visionary.

Every negative comment against him is mostly repetitious garbage people heard from a youtube channel that they mindlessly spout out in an attempt to sound intelligent. Sure, by all means you can be negative or push your own comments, but you won't stop him. This is probably because you lack a spine and/or resolve. How do I know this? Because he is literally changing the world and you are probably still jacking off in your mom's basement.

About the article. I won't benefit from this directly, I am fortunate enough to have gigabit where I live. But I am happy that this is happening because I hate visiting my in-laws house with their <1Mb/s connection speed. Only one person can watch youtube at a time and it drives me bonkers. At least let me veg out on some educational channels versus having to fight my own thoughts doing nothing for 16 hours a day except eating at some hole-in-the-wall chicken restaurant for 25000 calories a day in hodunk PA.......

I have my own problems.
 

Ravey

Posts: 350   +152
I currently have to use a phone line for my internet as our local ISP's will not pony up the cash to install fibre to block of flats in the middle of an estate built ten years ago...

So this might actually be a good alternative for me lol
 

CharmsD

Posts: 411   +257
It's always funny to me how people in the comments talk

let me veg out...versus having to fight my own thoughts...eating...in hodunk PA.......

mindlessly spout out

this is happening because I hate visiting my in-laws

you are probably still jacking off in your mom's basement


It's fun, on occasion, to strip out the fluffybits to read the sentences people type.

Coming from one of those living down here in the comments.


LOOK out now it's one of the new SPACEX mobile antenna!!

IMG_0239.jpeg
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,489   +6,296
As far as bandwidth goes, Musk was less willing to go into details, but he did say that you'll be able to "watch high-def movies," play games and do "all the things" you want to do without noticing speed.
Translation: Want some candy, kiddies? ??????
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,489   +6,296
It's always funny to me how people in the comments talk about how he, "Elon Musk", is making a mistake because he forgot about this one or twelve steps that EVERY SINGLE ORGANIZATION KNOWS ABOUT.

I think he put some thought into it, just saying. He is surrounded by some of the best and brightest people in all sectors. He is a visionary.

Every negative comment against him is mostly repetitious garbage people heard from a youtube channel that they mindlessly spout out in an attempt to sound intelligent. Sure, by all means you can be negative or push your own comments, but you won't stop him. This is probably because you lack a spine and/or resolve. How do I know this? Because he is literally changing the world and you are probably still jacking off in your mom's basement.

About the article. I won't benefit from this directly, I am fortunate enough to have gigabit where I live. But I am happy that this is happening because I hate visiting my in-laws house with their <1Mb/s connection speed. Only one person can watch youtube at a time and it drives me bonkers. At least let me veg out on some educational channels versus having to fight my own thoughts doing nothing for 16 hours a day except eating at some hole-in-the-wall chicken restaurant for 25000 calories a day in hodunk PA.......

I have my own problems.
:facepalm:
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,489   +6,296
Low Earth Orbit is around 2,000km. The speed of radio waves is roughly the speed of light at 3*10^8 m/s. That's 6.6ms one way for propagation, so 13.2ms round trip. 20ms seems pretty doable if you can keep the rest of the infrastructure to low latency.
Consider that this will rely on ground-based infrastructure to operate at all. Good luck to Musk to achieve that figure.

IMO, he's still blowing a lot of smoke out those ears. Mars mission, ain't gonna happen in his time frame - pratically no one covered the fact that his starliner blew up on the pad recently https://www.extremetech.com/extreme...ip-prototype-explodes-during-pressure-testing . The Boring company - :facepalm: https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/what-is-the-boring-company/
I just won't go on.

Musk speaks. Everyone hangs on his words and bows down chanting Savior, Savior, and eventually, Musk has to face the facts and tell everyone, Sorry, I was blowing more smoke out my butt.
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 7,489   +6,296
I think he put some thought into it, just saying. He is surrounded by some of the best and brightest people in all sectors. He is a visionary.

Every negative comment against him is mostly repetitious garbage people heard from a youtube channel that they mindlessly spout out in an attempt to sound intelligent. Sure, by all means you can be negative or push your own comments, but you won't stop him. This is probably because you lack a spine and/or resolve. How do I know this? Because he is literally changing the world and you are probably still jacking off in your mom's basement.
And by the way, my comments related to the size of his achievements vs the size of his mouth.
 

Raytrace3D

Posts: 333   +403
You guys remember when dial-up was around back in the day? Yeah, I was gaming at 220ms, so 20ms will do nicely. I have CRAP DSL right now that is slower than anything (25mbs) and very unreliable and is under constant lag. I had Comcast do a sight survey 2 weeks ago and they said they could run a line to my house for just over $11K (not counting monthly fees) or if I'm willing, signup for internet for just over $400 a month for 3 years to subsidize it.. so yeah, I'll pass... Starlink here we come!
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,489   +6,296
IMO, SpaceX / Musky's comments about Starship exploding on the pad are just hilarious and represent everything that is wrong with shooting off the mouth about things one is going to do. If you read that link, they essentially amount to "we throw stuff together, and then we are not surprised when it blows up on the pad" imo.

I used to be like Musky - I blabbed about all I was going to do until I decided just to do it and then talk about it later if warranted.

We all know that old adage that the size of the mouth is inversely proportional to the size of the brain. :laughing:
 

CharmsD

Posts: 411   +257
You guys remember when dial-up was around back in the day?

Not one bit, when did that happen?


Yeah, I was gaming at 220ms, so 20ms will do nicely. I have CRAP DSL right now that is slower than anything (25mbs) and very unreliable and is under constant lag. I had Comcast do a sight survey 2 weeks ago and they said they could run a line to my house for just over $11K (not counting monthly fees) or if I'm willing, signup for internet for just over $400 a month for 3 years to subsidize it.. so yeah, I'll pass... Starlink here we come!

@Elon call the Community Responsiveness and Internet Intervention Action Team back to Twitter, Level C LoveBugBots think it's mating time.

IMO, SpaceX / Musky's comments about Starship exploding on the pad are just hilarious and represent everything that is wrong with shooting off the mouth about things one is going to do. If you read that link, they essentially amount to "we throw stuff together, and then we are not surprised when it blows up on the pad" imo.

I literally cheered into the computer screen when he blasted his OWN CAR out to Mars, and beyond. I am not cheering a drunk-binge, glue-sniffing, proposal for a Ni-Cad battery powered, Space Blaster Internet Machine.

I used to be like Musky - I blabbed about all I was going to do until I decided just to do it and then talk about it later if warranted.

We all know that old adage that the size of the mouth is inversely proportional to the size of the brain. :laughing:

Haha.
 

brucek

Posts: 1,107   +1,643
I am not doubting that it is possible to create a satellite internet service that is superior to having no service at all. If the claim made was simply that there'd be a service and it'd be seen as helpful by many people who are currently under-served, I'd have had no comment.

But I'm still waiting on how 20ms latency for gaming is possible. If the one way cost from earth to satellite is ~6ms as claimed above, you're starting at 4x6 = 24ms. (Your house 1. to the satellite 2. down to the base station 3. back up to the satellite 4. back down to your house.)

So you're already over 20ms and you haven't yet added the time to the game server, the response time of that game server, and the return time from the game server.

I also don't doubt that Elon has access to experts who have already told this to him (nor his ability to know it without needing those experts.) I just think this may be an example where the marketing is a little exaggerated and/or cherry picking the best-possible circumstance even when it may not be very reflective of the average circumstance.
 

Raytrace3D

Posts: 333   +403
I am not doubting that it is possible to create a satellite internet service that is superior to having no service at all. If the claim made was simply that there'd be a service and it'd be seen as helpful by many people who are currently under-served, I'd have had no comment.

But I'm still waiting on how 20ms latency for gaming is possible. If the one way cost from earth to satellite is ~6ms as claimed above, you're starting at 4x6 = 24ms. (Your house 1. to the satellite 2. down to the base station 3. back up to the satellite 4. back down to your house.)

So you're already over 20ms and you haven't yet added the time to the game server, the response time of that game server, and the return time from the game server.

I also don't doubt that Elon has access to experts who have already told this to him (nor his ability to know it without needing those experts.) I just think this may be an example where the marketing is a little exaggerated and/or cherry picking the best-possible circumstance even when it may not be very reflective of the average circumstance.
I play Battlefront 2 every day (among other games) with my crappy DSL line and my ping is 63 ms... it sucks but playable (barely). If Starlink can offer higher bandwidth and lower latency that 63ms they will have my business.
 
This kind of article has only been promoted because its an Elon Musk's company. There are already other satellite internet companies that offer an affordable and low latency internet service for rural regions!! Like HughesNet or Viasat.
 

Raytrace3D

Posts: 333   +403
This kind of article has only been promoted because its an Elon Musk's company. There are already other satellite internet companies that offer an affordable and low latency internet service for rural regions!! Like HughesNet or Viasat.
HughesNet was awful when I used it. Latency was well over a second and most of the time (I kid you not) I would get packet loss just pinging. Many times I couldn't even check my email, let alone do something on the internet. It was the most frustrating experience ever and a complete waste of money. Dial-up is literally a better experience.

Starlink is different than HughesNet and other because of the low orbit associated with Starlink. HughesNet satellites are 35,500 kilometers in High Earth Orbit. Starlink is only 550 kilometers up in Low Earth Orbit. That's a 1/64th the distance, thus much lower latency. Also, Starlink capacity will be much greater than that of other providers due to the number of satellites they intend on using which will allow for much greater speeds over other providers. Granted, there are other providers currently working on new satellite networks that will be in service around the time Starlink will debut but Starlink has the advantage in cost due to not having to pay additional fees leveled to companies renting space on a rocket since SpaceX is performing this task. In addition, Starlink has permits that will allow them (currently) to place far more satellites in orbit than any other competitor.